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“Gotta Moan Sometime”: A Sonic Exploration of Earwitnesses to Early Pentecostal Sound in North America

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Sound as a historical frame provides a new historiographic turn for Pentecostal studies and a complement to spatial and temporal studies of the Pentecostal past. This article explores how sound serves as a primary marker of early Pentecostal identity, as sound blended the sound of prayer, preaching, testifying, singing, music-making, and silence. Embedded in early Pentecostal sound are primal cries, speech, music, and ambient sound which, for early Pentecostals, functioned as a circular continuum that Pentecostal soundways traveled. Encompassing more than orality, early Pentecostal sound generated a way of knowing that challenged the orality-literacy binary, the hierarchy of senses that privileged sight, and the hierarchy of the races.

Affiliations: 1: McCormick eological Seminary, 5460 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615, USA;, Email:


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